Achraf Hakimi and Matteo Darmian combined as the latter’s winner helped Inter Milan inch closer to their inevitable Serie A coronation.

Inter Milan moved one step closer to breaking Juventus’s hegemony in Italian football, after securing a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona. The result helps them extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points, with just six matches remaining until the end of the season.

As the scoreline suggests, it was a difficult game for Inter, especially in the first half as they struggled to create too many goalscoring opportunities. In fact, it was Hellas Verona who came closest to finding the breakthrough, although both the game was goalless heading into half-time.

The Nerazzurri upped the ante a little bit after the restart, making more inroads and capitalising on defensive mistakes from Hellas Verona. Ultimately, it was the substitute Matteo Darmian, who scored the winning goal for Antonio Conte’s men in the 76th minute, producing a cool and composed finish to beat Marco Silvestri in goal.

Inter are now inching closer to lifting their well-deserved Scudetto and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over their players in a rather hard-fought win over Verona this weekend.

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

Samir Handanovic made a good save to deny Daniel Bessa’s strike midway through the first half. It turned out to be the real attempt on goal from Verona, although the Inter Milan goalkeeper had to remain vigilant as the Gialloblu did try to push for the equaliser during the final 15 minutes of the game. A well-earned clean sheet.

Milan Skriniar: 7/10

Milan Skriniar read the game well, keeping things neat and tidy on the right-hand side of the Inter Milan defence. His contributions were indeed critical in helping Inter retain their valuable clean sheet, with the defender making multiple tackles. He was also very useful in the build-up, producing a couple of nice forward balls.

Stefan de Vrij: 7/10

Stefan de Vrij was dealt with the arduous task of dealing with Kevin Lasagna. The Dutchman held up to the challenge very well, keeping track of the forward’s runs in behind the backline. He was, however, supported excellently by his central defensive partners, Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6.5/10

As mentioned earlier, Bastoni had a key role to play in helping de Vrij deal with the threat of Lasagna. The young defender, though, was given much more freedom to occasionally march forward in an attempt to influence the approach play on the far side. He did that job well, although it certainly was not a very eventful game for the Inter centre-back.

Achraf Hakimi: 8/10

Achraf Hakimi was the grease that oiled the wheels for Inter, as far as their creative unit was concerned. His electric pace, coupled with the sheer technical prowess made life incredibly difficult for the Verona backline. The wing-back even looked menacing in front of goal, notably producing a stellar free-kick attempt that hit the bar. Hakimi capped off his performance with a late assist for Darmian’s winner.

Nicolo Barella: 6/10

While Hakimi had a feast on the right-hand side, Nicolo Barella had a rather quiet game. He was not involved in the game enough, often struggling to offer that penetration that was desperately required in the first half. The Italian international is certainly capable of better performances than this.

Marcelo Brozovic: 6/10

Marcelo Brozovic was another player that struggled to impose his authority in the middle of the park for Inter. While the experienced Croat did provide assurance in possession, he was often passive in his passing, which led to a lack of creativity from the Nerazzurri, especially with Barella struggling. As such, Brozovic was subbed off during the final phase of the game.

Christian Eriksen: 6/10

Christian Eriksen had moments where he did look threatening, particularly from set-pieces. From open play, however, the Dane did not provide enough to break the shackles of the Verona backline. He was subbed midway through the second half as Conte opted for more dynamism in the middle of the park.

Ivan Perisic: 6/10

Ivan Perisic tried his best to make things happen in the final third, but it was simply not his evening. The former Borussia Dortmund winger was rather ineffective with his forays down the flanks, despite additional assistance from Bastoni. He was replaced midway through the second half.

Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10

Romelu Lukaku kept the defenders on their toes with his sheer physicality and willingness to cover a lot of ground. Aside from that, the Belgian international did not have the best of games, often getting way too isolated thanks to Verona’s clever pressing scheme that offered him very little time on the ball.

Lautaro Martinez: 7/10

Lautaro Martinez was certainly a spark for Inter in the final third, especially in a game where chances came at a premium. He looked dangerous with his menacing runs forward, and did well to capitalise on certain defensive mistakes from the opposition. He was rather unlucky not to score a goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Matteo Darmian: 8/10

Matteo Darmian replaced Perisic in the 65th minute to offer more stability in the backline. However, the ex-Manchester United defender ended up winning the game for the Nerazzurri, unleashing a calm finished to seal the win.

Stefano Sensi: 6/10

Stefano Sensi kept things ticking after coming on for Eriksen in the second half. Nothing fantastic, but his fresh legs in midfield were useful nonetheless.

Alexis Sanchez: 6.5/10

Alexis Sanchez was introduced around the 72nd minute to add that little dynamism going forward. Did his job well, keeping the opposition occupied.

Roberto Gagliardini: N/A

A late replacement for the tiring Brozovic. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: N/A

A late replacement for Hakimi, as Conte opted for more defensive resistance. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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